Meridian of the Month: The Heart Channel

The Heart Meridian is one of 12 major meridians in the body. It begins in the chest and travels along the inside of the arm, ending at the tip of the pinky finger. This channel connects with other major meridians and organs, and uses 9 acupuncture points to treat a variety of physical, mental and spiritual conditions.

The Heart was described in the classics of Chinese Medicine as the sovereign within the body, responsible for intelligence, wisdom and spiritual transformation. It belongs to the element of fire, and is associated with aspects and emotions related to Spirit: warmth, laughter, joy, enthusiasm, love and happiness.

By using acupuncture points along the Heart Meridian, we can provide for the spiritual needs of an individual along with physical and mental needs. For example, if a patient presents with chronic palpitations but no emotional manifestations, we would focus on points to treat the physical condition. If a patient presents with palpitations along with extreme emotional upset or feelings of hopelessness and despair, we would add points to calm Spirit or strengthen Spirit.

What is a meridian?
A key point in Chinese Medicine is the principle of Yin and Yang, two opposing energies in the body that create harmony when in balance, but when out of balance can cause issues with our health and vitality. The channels through which the yin and yang energies flow are called meridians and each meridian connects with various organs and tissues within the body.

Why is the Heart Meridian Important?
The Heart Channel is rooted internally within the heart itself and plays an important role in maintaining the physical, mental and emotional health of the entire human body. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Chinese Medicine states “The Heart is the sovereign of all the organs and represents the consciousness of one’s being. It is responsible for intelligence, wisdom and spiritual transformation.”

How is it used?
When heart energy is out of balance, it can lead to a number of physical and mental issues. Acupuncture points along the Heart Meridian are used to release blocked energy, enhance blood circulation, increase energy, release heat, and calm the nervous system. Some points treat physical symptoms like chest pain, high blood pressure, poor circulation, palpitations, and hot flashes. Other points treat mental symptoms like confusion, emotional upset, anxiety, insomnia, depression or manic episodes.

How does it help our Spirit?
We learn from an early age the importance of developing our minds and our intellectual abilities. We also learn the benefits of keeping our physical bodies strong and healthy. What we sometimes forget to nurture is the essential part of ourselves, who we are at the core – our Spirit.

The Heart Meridian is used treat physical and mental imbalances, and also help patients better connect with themselves and others to cultivate positive feelings and emotions. And who wouldn’t want to have a healthy heart, a strong body, a clear and focused mind, and the ability to feel happiness and find hope in life?


Kathy Schoenberger, L.Ac.